Thursday , Jun , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Atlanta Hawks 2006 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – The Atlanta Hawks are still a work in progress. They won
26 games in the 2005-06 campaign under second-year head coach Mike Woodson,
who guided the team to a 13-69 record during the 2004-05 season.

Guard Joe Johnson, who was acquired from Phoenix in a controversial trade
prior to this past season, played all 82 regular-season games and led the
Hawks in scoring (20.2 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg), while center Zaza Pachulia
pulled down a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game.

Johnson is a solid defender on the perimeter and is the player Atlanta is
trying to build around. Rookies Salim Stoudamire and Marvin Williams, who was
the second overall pick in last year’s draft, should only get better, while
Josh Smith and Josh Childress are still developing their games as well.

Forward Al Harrington, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent,
had a solid season. He averaged 18.6 points and 6.9 boards, but will most
likely be looking for employment with another team.

The Hawks have some pieces to the puzzle in place. Johnson is set at shooting
guard and Atlanta is hopeful that Williams can develop into a solid forward.
Selecting a point guard with the fifth overall selection may be the way the
Hawks are headed. Villanova’s Randy Foye or Connecticut’s Marcus Williams
would look good next to Johnson in Atlanta’s backcourt.

However, Duke forward Shelden Williams is on the rise. He has been impressive
in his workouts and would fill a void for Atlanta. The Hawks have a lot to
think about.

Key Player(s): Josh Childress (Guard), Al Harrington (Forward), Joe Johnson
(Guard), Tyronn Lue (Guard), Zaza Pachulia (Center), Josh Smith (Forward),
Salim Stoudamire (Guard), Marvin Williams (Forward).

Team Needs: Point guard, rebounding, strength in the low post.

Draft picks: 1st round (5th overall), 2nd round (33rd overall).